Three is a Crowd_Chapter 4

Lllit was as beautiful on the inside as it was on the outside. The reception area was a fusion of greens and blues and whites and on the wall behind the receptionist was painted a sultry woman wearing nothing but her gele. People walked up and down confidently in their spandex and half tops. In fact, as far as she could tell, everyone in Lllit was already fit. What on earth were they still paying N50,000 for?

“Hi. How can I help you?”

Demi smiled at the receptionist and angled closer, so no one else would be privy to their conversation.

“Umm…I’m interested in joining.”

“Great! We have a dance hall, a health/medical clinic, a swimming pool, a spa, a tennis court, and a basketball court. We also provide our members with a personal trainer.  For only 200,000/month you can have access to all the facilities.”

“Clearly the Buhari regime has not affected your members.”

“What did you say ma?”

“Ummm…how much if you only want to join the gym?”

“That is not what you said,” joined a deep creamy voice. Demi turned around and found herself looking up into the dark eyes of a very beautiful man. And he was smiling at her. Demi turned her neck to look behind. No, he was definitely smiling at her. He leaned on the receptionist counter and watched her, as though waiting for her.

“I…I…”

“You said that the Buhari regime –“

Demi’s eyes widened.

“I know what I said!”

He winked at her.

“I feel you. I only come here cuz I get a discount.”

The man looked as if he lived at the gym. He wasn’t bulky but every inch of him was firm. All she had to do was sneeze and her body jiggled. She wished he would stop smiling at her like that, it was doing weird things to her breathing.

“I think I think the gym package is N20,000 and it’s N10,000 if you choose the package that is off peak,” he offered.

“Thanks…”

He gave her a soft slap on the back and then brushed his gym card against the scanner. She watched his butt walk away from her.

“Ma?”

“Ummm…yea I’ll get the ummm…off peak gym package.”

The receptionist pursed her lips, displeased with Demi’s choice; even though it was clear to Demi that the pock-skinned woman before her could never have afforded the N200,000 she seemed so eager to collect.

“What time is the offpeak time?”

“11am-4pm.”

Demi groaned. Those were work hours. She would have to use her lunch break if she planned to take advantage of the off peak gym membership. She should have asked before she paid but she had been distracted by the chocolately stranger. She wished she had gotten his name – not that it mattered – he would never be interested in someone like her.

Now she was in an even worse mood and it had started to rain. It was only a few drops, but in a matter of minutes it would be a downpour. She ran towards her car and prayed that the Camry door would open on the first try.

Her family had lived at their Chevron home for almost 20 years now; so long that it was easy to take for granted the lush greenery that surrounded it, it’s old American style architecture and the sheer grandness of the house. Baba, the three-toothed gateman opened the gate for her and she drove into the compound.

She took the umbrella from him but he hovered still, offering to carry her bag until she dispatched him with N50. Her mother came out of the front door, her arms were folded and her lips were pressed together.

“I thought you said you were going out with that Tosin guy?”

“Mummy, can I enter the house first?”

“So why did he propose to someone else?”

Demi sidestepped her mother and collapsed the umbrella, careful not to make a puddle.

“I said, I wanted to go out with you. And I am going to stop telling Moradeke anything.”

“See if you had been dressing like I have been telling you to dress; he would not have proposed to some other nonsense girl.”

Demi looked down at her white blouse and long grey skirt. She couldn’t see anything wrong with it. She was still wearing the clothes from work since Rayo was half her size. Her sister’s bump was barely even showing yet.

“Mum, these are my work clothes.”

Her mum followed her into her bedroom, which was situated on the ground floor. She had chosen it because she figured it would give her distance from her parents. She had been very wrong. On the plus side, it was very close to the kitchen.

“I bet the girl with the engagement ring doesn’t wear boring clothes to work.”

No, Dotun wore bright greens and sharp reds and perky pinks. She was like a walking traffic light.

Demi tossed her bag on her dresser and started to unbutton her shirt.

“Where is Moradeke, I want to kill her.”

The baby of their family appeared at the doorway and gave an apologetic smile.

“Don’t be mad at me Demi.”

“Too late.”

“And why shouldn’t she tell me what’s going on in your life? I’m your mother.”

Behind her Moradeke mouthed – she was asking me about my grades. Demi rolled her eyes. So Moradeke had decided to distract their mum with news about Demi’s sorry life.

Her phone vibrated. It was Jameelah again.

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